You may be completely surprised by what I’m about to say: it’s possible to find healthy menu items at the most popular fast food restaurants. We spend a lot of time talking about how to make restaurant copycat foods and take-out-inspired recipes, and we also urge you to cook at home as much as possible. But, at the same time, we completely understand that you need to go out to eat every once and a while! Eating is an intensely social act, and sometimes you want to join the office crew for lunch. For those times when you’re joining a group or just don’t have time to cook a from-scratch meal, use this article as a guide for what to order at your favorite fast-food restaurants.
Eating healthy is all about making choices, and these healthy menu items will help you make the smart choice when you’re sitting at the drive-through. We tried to cover most of the popular fast-food joints, including McDonalds, Chick-fil-A, and Panera bread. If we missed your favorite fast-food restaurant and you’ve found some healthy menu items that work for you, please let us know in the comments! We always love hearing from you, especially when it can help others to become healthier and more fit.
If you have a hankering for the golden arches, opt for the Pico Guacamole with Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It’s filled with lean protein (a whopping 38-grams) while keeping the calories low. Including the sesame seed bun, you’ll get 470 calories, 18 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 38 grams of protein.
You don’t normally think of a vegetarian burger when you think of fast-food, but Burger King’s BK Veggie Burger is actually pretty good! If you ask for it without mayonnaise, you’ll keep the fat and calories down even lower, clocking in at 310 calories, 7 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of protein.
We love the breakfast bowl options at Chick-fil-A because most of them stay under 500 calories. The Chick-fil-A Hash Brown Scramble Bowl is one of our favorites because it’s mostly filled with protein-rich eggs. You can choose from sausage or sliced chicken and stay at 450 calories, 28 grams of fat, 19 grams of carbs, and 30 grams of protein.
Would it surprise you to know that our healthy menu items choice from Wendy’s is their chicken tenders? They may be fried, but they’re totally portion controlled to help you from overeating. Just make sure you don’t over-do it with the ranch dipping sauce! Grab a 3-piece chicken to fill up with 300 calories, 14 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of protein.
If you want a completely flavorful meal that tastes like a cheat meal, go for Arby’s Pizza Sliders. They’re super meaty and cheesy, but each slider only has 300 calories, 14 grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs, and 22 grams of protein.
Taco Bell has made great strides over the past few years to improve the number of healthy menu items on their menu. The Naked Chicken Chalupa is actually pretty genius – it uses a piece of fried chicken to replace the shell! It may be high in fat, but it’s filling, and it keeps the carbs low. You’ll get 440 calories, 30 grams of fat, 22 grams of carbs, and 20 grams of protein with each chalupa.
Subway has long been the go-to option for healthy menu items because of their fresh toppings. You can certainly pack on the calories with some of the choices, but we love the 6-inch Turkey Breast Sub, with no cheese and add avocado. You don’t miss the cheese with all the healthy fats in avocado! You’ll stay at 340 calories, 9 grams of fat, 49 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.
We love the healthy salad options at Panera Bread, but our top choice is the Roasted Beet, Quinoa, & Citrus Salad. It has a nice combination of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole-grains. Every salad will fill you up with only 490 calories, 31 grams of fat, 49 carbs (most of which is from complex carbohydrates), and 12 grams of protein.
The coffee mega-giant conveniently offers food, but many of the breakfast pastries offer empty calories. Choose one of their Smoked Turkey Protein Boxes instead. You’ll get healthy apples and carrots alongside a savory sandwich. It’s definitely a good healthy option at 360 calories, 12 grams of fat, 42 grams of carbs, and 24 grams of protein.
We love that you can get burrito bowls or salads at Chipotle, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for a handheld option. Recently, the tortilla recipe at Chipotle was simplified to just four ingredients, so you can be sure that you’re getting balanced nutrition with every burrito. Not a great option if you’re going low-carb, but in the end that tortilla only adds 320 calories, 9 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbs, and 8 grams of protein.
Looking for a “freaky fast” sandwich? Jimmy John’s actually has some healthy menu items, including the #4 . If you skip the bread and get it as an “unwich” (wrapped in lettuce leaves), it only has 273 calories, 22 grams of fat, 5 carbs, and 14 grams of protein.
We can’t help you if you buy a dozen donuts and eat them all, but if you can resist the urge, there are some healthy menu items on Dunkin’ Donuts’ menu. Try the Egg-White Veggie Flatbread, which will certainly fill you up with protein-rich egg whites. Each sandwich has 330 calories, 14 grams of fat, 33 grams of carbs, and 18 grams of protein.
It’s often hard to find a healthy slice of pizza, but Papa John’s has a vegetable-filled option that’s better than most sodium-filled pizzas. The Garden Fresh Pizza is all veggie, with green peppers, onions, mushrooms, black olives, and Roma tomatoes. You can eat two slices and stay at 400 calories, 14 grams of fat, 54 grams of carbs, and 16 grams of protein.
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